The 16th edition of UEFA European Championships and what we call Euros was also due to the summer of the year 2020, like several other events. The epidemic of COVID-19, though, has resulted in the reverse of the four-year tournament by at least one year.
During its vibrant history spanning over 60 years, ten different teams have won this prestigious tournament, with Germany (3), Spain (3), and France (2) being the stand-outs to win Euros more than once.
Many fine players have graced the Euros over all this time, and many will over the coming years. On that note, here is a look at the all-time XI of the Euros in the last sixty years and the notable mentions that would have made it to the team if it wasn’t for the starters.
Goalkeeper – Iker Casillas
Over his total of 14 games at the UEFA Euros, Casillas kept nine clean sheets. Spain and Real Madrid’s legend, most notably, conceded only one goal in the 2012 Euros against Italy in the group stage.
Casillas also never lost a penalty shootout for Spain, and again, one of them being against Italy in the 2008 tournament. In a game at the UEFA quadrennial tournament he never awarded more than one goal.
These records are a perfect testament to Iker’s total dominance at the UEFA Euros. Thus, the greatest goalie ever in the euro finds statistically no spot in the game at all times.
Notable mention: Edwin Van Der Sar
Left-Back – Paolo Maldini
What a no-brainer, this. Euros were no exception to this great player. If ever a player could make it to the best Euro XI of all time without winning it, it has to be Paolo.
He captained the team to two Euro finals and was part of the famous 5-men defense of Italy that conceded only two goals in 2000 Euros before reaching the final. He played three Euros in his career, making it to the final of two of them, and making it to the tournament team on all three occasions.
Notable mention: Andreas Brehme
Center-backs: Sergio Ramos & Gerrard Pique
Yes, it looks weird, these two together. But who else you’d have in your Euros team guarding your goal other than these two? One of the most contrasting CB-pairing, Pique and Ramos, was instrumental in Spain’s two Euro victories.
Their record matches that of Casillas since they were protecting Iker’s goal in his career. You may have questions about that, and rightly so, especially when there have been some fantastic CBs over the years in Euros; this pairing will always stand out for so many reasons.
Notable mentions: Laurent Blanc & Pepe
Right Back: Lilian Thuram
Lilian Thuram must be one of the most underrated defenders of all times and one of the least mentioned players in France’s success story in football. He was a key figure during Les Bleus’ victory at the 2000 Euros, where he also made it to the tournament team.
He played in a total of four editions of the UEFA Euros, from 1996 to 2008. Thuram played his first two editions right back and then moved to central defense in the next two competitions. He quickly makes it to the best Euros XI of all time.
Notable mention: Gianluca Zambrotta
Right Midfielder: Luis Figo
There were not many right midfielders you would put your money on than Figo back in his days. In 1996, 2000 and 2004, Portugal’s former champion, Ballon D’Or, participated in three euro tournaments.
In 2000 and 2004, Figo was also part of the Euro squad at the Championship. He scored twice and helped five goals in the 14 games he played in total at Euros. His performances were vital to Portugal’s campaign to the final of the 2004 Euro. He will probably make it to any team in his prime and does so in our best Euro XI of the last 60 years.
Notable Mention: David Beckham
Central Midfielders: Michel Platini & Xavi Hernandez
Wow. Do we even have to say something about these two? While Platini was, in his prime, a one-person army who would run the show on his own, Xavi was the Spanish tiki-taka instrument player.
Platini made his appearance in only one edition of Euros, but such was his impact that he scored nine goals, including the only multiple-hat tricks in one Euro competition, and scoring in consecutive five games, both of which remain a record till day. Oh, and he won the only Euro that he played.
On the other hand, Xavi rarely scored but always dictated the game to an extent where you would love only to watch the passing over goals. Such was his brilliance that he made it to every Euros team of the tournament which he played. Along with Pique, Ramos, and Iker, he also won Euros twice and deservedly qualified in our most incredible XI for Euros over the last 60 years.
Notable Mentions: Zinedine Zidane & Andres Iniesta
Left Midfielder: Lukas Podolski
In terms of individual brilliance, Podolski is right there on the top in Euros, especially his performances in the 2008 edition of the competition. He was instrumental to Germany’s bid for the trophy in 2008, which they just fell one-step short. He then continued brilliant form in 2012, but unfortunately, never won the tournament.
Notable Mention: Robert Pirès
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo & Marco Van Basten
In Euros, Ronaldo keeps an array of documents. He is the all-time leader in the UEFA Euroskills with his 31-goals list. In contrast, Michel Platini’s nine Euros goal is the most common by any player in a single tournament.
Ronaldo is also the first player to score in four Euros and won the 2016 competition. He not only makes the best-ever European XI of the last 60 years but probably is one of the best to grace the game.
Our front pairing with Cristiano Ronaldo is no other than legendary Marco Van Basten. He single-handedly won Holland the 1988 edition of UEFA Euros. He also scored the best-ever goal in Euro’s final in the same year and very quickly qualified for our best Euro XI of the last 60 years.
Notable Mentions: Fernando Torres & Antoine Griezmann
We will surely have many greats in coming editions of Euros, and we would probably have to alter our team in our next best XI of Euros. Who are you betting to make it to the best Euro XI in the upcoming edition of Euros? Let us know.